English, Department of


First Advisor

Tom Gannon

Date of this Version



A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of the Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Tom Gannon. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2020

Copyright 2020 Sydney K. Baty


On the face of things, movies and video games are similar mediums. Both engage extensively in visuals and audio, both can indulge in speculative fiction, and there is a healthy amount of sharing of inspiration and content. However, this does not guarantee successful adaptations from one form to another. Movies adapted from video games are notorious for being simply terrible, but little academic attention has been paid as to why these adaptations in particular seem so unsuccessful in every way, from audience reception, critical response, and monetary returns. This issue is based on fundamental differences in the medium. Games are, at their core, based around rules and goals, and the inevitable predictability and reliability of those rules do not make for exciting adaptations. Games also place the player at the center of the meaning-making process, a position that feels almost privileged in comparison to the more voyeuristic position of the film audience. Movies must adapt with a greater consciousness of these fundamental differences in media, or else the video game movie curse will continue to claim new victims.

Advisor: Tom Gannon